IMaR Gateway Delivering Solutions to Industry through State-of-the-Art Research Equipment

Birds eye view of MTU Kerry

IMaR Technology Gateway based in Munster Technological University (Kerry), is an applied research provider delivering technology solutions for industry. The Gateway engages with industry across Ireland to increase competitiveness in the area of Intelligent Mechatronics, Internet of Things and RFID and provide the best possible solutions to meet their innovation requirements. By applying its core expertise IMaR can assist business by: 

  • Increasing volume throughputs 
  • Decreasing cycle times 
  • Optimising product quality 
  • Sustaining manufacturing competitiveness 

The Gateway currently houses state-of-the-art research facilities, which focus on technology innovation and delivery. The team have recently taken delivery of a range of specialised equipment, funded by the Enterprise Ireland capital call, which aims to support companies, not only within the region but also further afield.

Some of the specialised equipment available at IMaR includes:  

Mobile Robots 

IMaR can now provide mobile robots and an automatic conveyor test-bed to assist industry to evaluate the opportunities to free staff from low-value transport tasks in manufacturing and logistics facilities. With a suite of mobile robots and flexible conveying systems, IMaR can rapidly demonstrate the potential benefits to your organization and how these systems can be integrated into smarter, more efficient operations.   

RFID Test and Development Suite  

IMaR has established itself as a leader in applied research focusing on delivering Intelligent Mechatronics and RFID solutions for industry, the gateway has built considerable expertise in the field of RFID and related emerging technologies. The introduction of the RFID Test and Development suite to their services includes a full complement of RFID readers, antennas, RF test equipment, as well as a large catalogue of RFID tags of varying properties which satisfy many different use cases. 

This facility includes a range of RFID readers covering a wide range of technologies (HF, LF, UNF, RAIN, NFC, UWB), associated antenna arrays/multiplexers and a series of RFID test equipment to measure performance of RFID devices and application setups, verify conformance and support the development of readers, tags and ICs, measurement of tag frequency sensitivity, communication range and backscatter measurements. Where possible, all equipment will be relatively portable to allow deployment and testing of RFID equipment on-site in an industrial environment.     

Wireless Communication Testbed 

Short-range communications technology for industrial environments is a key enabler of the ‘Industrial Internet of Things‘ . Whether it is used for predictive maintenance, operational dashboard or digital twin development, IIoT requires reliable communication between a number of sensors and a control unit which analyses the data provided. To assist clients on their Industry 4.0 / digitisation journey, and in complement to its industrial sensing suite, IMaR has acquired a suite of wireless industrial communications platforms. The aim of this testbed is to help companies to choose the protocol that best suits their application by providing a trialing capacity covering the major low-power short-range (<500m) wireless communication platforms. 

The suite includes LoRa, LTE, Sigfox, GSM, WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth Low Energy together with industrial integration fieldbus technology; ModBus, EthernetIP and EtherCad. 

Industrial Process Monitoring Suite 

In recent years the development of systems such as predictive maintenance for process equipment has been somewhat hindered by the cost of sensing units and perceived complexity of digital systems to exploit the data. The industrial process monitoring suite available at IMaR will support clients to evaluate the optimum sensor deployment and data management systems for a range of use cases including not only predictive maintenance, but also the development and prototyping of operational dashboards and process digital twins.  The suite provides for measurement and logging of physical quantities including: humidity, pressure, temperature, light, acoustics, voltage, current, vibration / acceleration. Additionally, the suite includes magnetometers, GPS and gyroscopes. Most popular communications protocols can be implemented, and the suite is complemented by the above industrial wireless suite. 

Mobile data processing rig 

Many enterprises are slow to engage in collaborative research projects in the area of data science due to the dangers of exposing sensitive data to externally hosted entities such as cloud processing platforms. To address these concerns, IMaR has now acquired a Deep-Learning Server with a portable flight-case. 

The system is comprised of: 

  • a CPU/motherboard unit, 
  • RAM and Hard-drive memory, 
  • associated network interfaces and power supplies, and most critically, 
  • multiple high-power Graphical Processing Units (GPUs). 

With advances in the integration scales of these technologies such high-power processing systems have been scaled down to single space (4U – size) rackmount units, enabling the opportunity to mount the system in a rackmount flight-case to create a portable data processing data centre. The system can be fully wiped of data, brought to a specific industrial location, loaded with sensitive industrial data via a physical data transfer platform and processing can take place on-site. All data can then be removed from the server to the satisfaction of the data control officer before exiting the facility. Such a system will reduce the perceived risk of data breaches and thus expedite engagement with industrial clients in the area of data analytics and AI. 

For more information on this range of equipment and how it can assist your company check out the IMaR website or contact the team.

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